Prehistoric Clock

Prehistoric Clock

by Robert Appleton

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Airship officer Verity Champlain is well-respected by her crew. But after a vital mission nearly goes wrong, she is having second thoughts about her career.

Lord Garrett Embrey is on the run. The Leviacrum Council, the secretive scientific body that holds sway over the Empire, executed his father and uncle and now they want him dead too.

Professor Cecil Reardon is consumed by grief. Since his wife and son died he's been obsessed with his work, and now he is on the verge of an extraordinary scientific breakthrough: his machine is about to breach time itself, to undo fate's cruel taking of his loved ones.

But the time jump doesn't go according to plan, and part of London winds up millions of years in the past. Verity and her crew—Lord Embrey, Professor Reardon and others stranded with them—must pull together to survive in a world ruled by dinosaurs...and to somehow get home.

58,000 words

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426893155
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 02/06/2012
Series: The Steam Clock Legacy
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 367,400
File size: 931 KB

Read an Excerpt

1908. Somewhere over the English Channel…

Verity collapsed her brass telescope and winced as the pyre of yet another British airship blazed on the rough waves. The odds of surviving this suicidal folly dwindled with each crimson flash. She shielded her face from the sting of lateral rain. All around her, metal warped and canvas groaned as the storm gathered fury. What she wouldn't give to be back in Angola right now, even in that godforsaken heat she was famous for griping about. Anywhere but here! Gusts battered the Empress Matilda's bullet-shaped, hydrogen-filled envelopes like a flurry of fists, swinging the deck and veering the airship away from the line of buoys below. Verity lurched against the taffrail, bit her tongue.

"Tangeni," she yelled for'ard through the pain.

Her stoic coxswain spun round. "Yes, Eembu?"

"Commence separation. Have Mbenga's team man the upper deck for you. Burton and Kwame can steer. Have Kibo meet me in the bell house." She clung to her sou'wester's chin strap with pruned fingers, and grinned bitterly. "It's time to divorce the Empress."

Tangeni grimaced at their private joke, baring his too-many white teeth, and then shook his head. "English women crazier than English men."

"Oh, you haven't seen the half of it yet."

He snatched up the megaphone and bellowed orders to the crew. His oversized silver-blue slicker made him look like a fat sea lion leaning over the brass railing—a far cry from his hunting days in the wilds of Namibia.

A lull in the wind allowed her to dash safely to him across the poop deck. After placing her hands on his shoulders, they touched foreheads—perhaps for the last time. Her mission, they both knew, was now a halfpenny short of impossible. For years Tangeni had looked forward to seeing England for the first time. Only six miles shy, he would probably never be closer than he was right now.

The image of Captain Naismith hanging over the side amidships, burning to death in the steam jet from a ruptured boiler below as he reached for those poor drowning sailors, seized her heart. That was the moment she'd inherited this responsibility, this…countdown to oblivion.

"Enda nawa, Tangeni," she said. Regret ached through her shivering frame.

"Goodbye, Eembu."

As she hurried down the iron steps to the quarterdeck he called after her, "When rain stops, I buy us ice creams in Piccadilly."

The awful weight of finality squeezed the air from her lungs. Salutes from Reba and Philomena, the two statuesque Kenyan girls who maintained the balloons' canvas and lines, steeled her resolve, quickened her descent to B-deck. This crew was so far from home on a mission so alien to their lives in Africa, she at least owed it to them to give her very best, to reward their faith in English ingenuity. The admiralty's emergency telegram had snatched away their promised vacation and sped up their transfer to the London fleet—rotten enough circumstances for her first command without the threat of imminent death.


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Prehistoric Clock 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
7hir7een More than 1 year ago
I requested this book for review based on the interesting cover and premise, and was excited to get to read it. The first thing I noticed about Prehistoric Clock was that it was surprisingly well-written. Although I am a big fan of steampunk books, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to get from a London-based steampunk novel with time travel and dinosaurs. It could be great fun, executed smoothly like Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series, or it could have left much to be desired. I am happy to report that Prehistoric Clock was far from a disappointment. The novel follows the stories of three different protagonists, each very different from the next. First, you have your the strong female figure, captain of an airship in a time when male dominance presides. She is beginning to question the motives behind some of her life decisions, and whether she truly wants to follow in the footsteps of her family. Then, there’s the son of a marquess. His uncle and father were executed after a false trial rife with judicial conspiracy and forged evidence. He is doing his best to keep his enemies at bay and find out the truth behind the secret that led to his father’s death. Finally, you have a jaded scientist devoting his time into developing a method of time manipulation to save his family à la The Butterfly Effect. Their paths become intertwined through a simple case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Prehistoric Clock has a lot going for it. The action scenes are heart-pounding. The suspenseful sequences are thrilling, leaving the reader with an appreciable growth of dread to rival the characters’. The mysterious elements of the plot leave you with niggling questions pricking at the back of your mind . The romantic scenes are sweet, not unnecessarily forced or over-the-top. It is a well-crafted, adeptly compiled and thoroughly entertaining novel. Fans of science fiction, steampunk, and time travel will delight in this wonderful gem. I know I am anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series.